By Heather Lusk
A Zionsville robotics team has qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championships for the first time in several years.
The Tesseract team, part of the Zionsville Community High School Robotics Club, placed 10th at the state competition in March. By virtue of that finish,the team qualified for the world championship without having to compete at the national level.
All four team members are juniors. This is the first year they’ve worked together as a team.
Dominic Holifield, Tesseract’s team captain, serves as driver and builder. Atharva Naik programx the robot and Alex Lam and Jerry Tang track their process and engineering. Lam and Tang also actively scout other teams on YouTube, which helps them decide which teams they would like to compete against.
While teams are randomly pitted against one another at the state level, those ranked higher in qualification at worlds can select their opponent for each round.
The Tesseract team is making changes to its robot to prepare for the next level of competition, addressing connectivity issues, making it faster and learning to handle static. Holifield said they weren’t prepared for the amount of static electricity at their last competition and had to rely on static spray.
During after-school club time, team members make necessary adjustments and practice field elements such as stacking discs or throwing balls at targets.
The team built its robot in October 2018, then rebuilt in January to prepare for the state competition.
“Indiana, I would say, is one of the most competitive regions,” said Holifield, adding that four of the top 12 teams ranked in the world are from Indiana.
The world competition is April 24 through 27 in Louisville.